Located in the beautiful Okanogan Highlands of Washington State is a 40 acre parcel of land rich in biodiversity to include native plants, animals, fungi and minerals. Three very different micro-habitats exist on this one piece of property - at 2,000 feet of elevation there exists a canyon of quaking aspen, ponderosa pines, and a wetlands that attracts a variety of wildlife. From there and on up to 2,600 feet of elevation are rocky outcrops and hill valleys laden with thick pine forests. Lastly and on up to 2,900 feet of elevation is a combination of both shrub steppe and prairie grasslands, teaming with beautiful wildflowers and varied food and medicine plants. This part of Washington has both the warmest and coldest temperatures in the state. In the summer, heat moves North from the Great Basin region, and in the winter, cold air moves south from the arctic. Unlike Western Washington, the Okanogan Highland ecoregion sees four distinct seasons a year.
93% of the 40 acre farm is left wild with the exception of some restoration-based native flora plantings. The other 7% includes a tiny house, a very primitive road, a cultivated garden for food and medicinal plants, and a future apiary and chicken area. A majority of the farm's harvesting grounds are that wild 93%, meaning that medicinal and food plants native to North Central Washington are incorporated in our teas, tinctures and other herbal products. This property is further delimited by almost 1,200 acres of State Land, plus another 1,000 acres of land managed by the Nature Conservancy, allowing for additional opportunities to enjoy the surrounding wilderness.
The animals that depend on the Okanogan Highlands for home and habitat include mule deer, moose, elk, pygmy rabbits, declining sagebrush sparrow and sage grouse populations, lynx, cougar, bobcat, black bear, endangered grizzly bear, federally protected gray wolf populations, coyotes, wolverines and a large variety of song birds and raptors. Several species of reptile are native and in some cases endemic to the Highlands, such as the desert nightsnake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea) and the pygmy short-horned lizard (Phrynosoma douglasii). Many species here, inclusive of birds, mammals, reptiles and plants are rare, sensitive or threatened due to habitat degradation, climate change and/or the overgrazing of ungulates.
Our land is not fenced for exclusion so to give wildlife, both predator and their prey, access to the farm. The only exception is a tall fence around our cultivated garden to keep deer and wandering cattle out. In the near future we plan to raise tiny livestock - bees - as well as chickens, and will utilize moveable electric netting, human presence, and livestock guardian animals to protect them from local carnivores. All of this is included within the 7%, or 3-acres, that are somewhat developed. Additionally, we have wildlife cameras installed on the property to help tell a story of human-wildlife coexistence, thus educating others that parting private land with wildlife is in fact possible.
Tiny House Power
A tiny house, with an approximate footprint of 120 square feet is the living quarters on the Wolves & Sage wild farm. It will eventually be powered by both wind and solar. The Okanogan Highlands are known for more than 300 days of sunshine a year making solar power an obvious choice. The topography of the property as a whole faces West, making for longer sun exposure with more intense rays adding to the energy gathered through solar panels. The tiny house will sit at approximately 2,500 feet of elevation where there are daily, consistent afternoon winds, making wind power a great choice as well. It should be noted that the tiny house is on wheels and therefore can be moved if needed depending on the season for increased energy efficiency.
Lastly, the tiny house is fairly near to the state-owned land border, and therefore also near the main, though very primitive road. It is important to minimize the impact of building our own primitive road from this main road through the Department of Natural Resources property, and to the tiny house. Scientific research shows that rural roads have a significant and negative impact on wildlife. More than 99% of the farm property is roadless and accessible only by hiking/walking.
Like conventional CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), the farm is supported by those consumers that choose to purchase our food and herbal CSA (Community Supported Agriculture AND Apothecary) shares. Whereas 5% of financial gain for direct farm to market goods, or single-item products go directly to wildlife conservation and research, monies received for CSAs goes directly back into the farm so that we may continue to provide communities with high quality herbal goods. Thank you in advance for your support!